Do Your Parents Need A Geriatrician? Browse Common symptoms
Parents are a huge blessing in our lives. And seeing them age in front of our own eyes often make us wonder that how do we take a good care of them in their old age. We certainly want to provide the best possible support and care to them just like they provided us with the best care and support during our childhood. Taking care of our parents is our responsibility and we should try our best to provide them the best care regarding all the issues and challenges of the old age, which our parents might face. There are many ways to support your parents in old age and one of the most important things is to understand why and when do your parents require a geriatric support.
Who are Geriatricians and why type of medical services they provide?
Geriatricians are the doctors who focus on the health care of elderly people and provide them medical care and assistance. Geriatricians specialize in the diseases and disorders of old age and treat or manage these medical conditions. They work in a close collaboration with the patient’s family. And guide the family about the management of the medical condition. Geriatricians play an important role in improving the health of the elderly people. There are almost 56 million people in USA who are 65 years and older. And require proper medical assistance and support.
So, lets dig into the symptoms which might indicate that your parents require a Geriatrician’s advice.
- Weight loss
Rapid weight loss is an important indicator of muscles loss and tissue loss which leads to nutritional deficiencies and decreased body energy as ATP production in the muscles tissue provide enormous amount of energy to the body. weight loss might result from diseases like protein energy malnutrition and diabetes.
- Decreased mental functioning
Decline in mental capabilities is one of the most common symptoms of aging. Number of brain cells decline with the increasing age. which leads to many mental health conditions like dementia more commonly known as memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, depression, Alzheimer’s diseases and severe epilepsy. There are more than 65 million cases of mental health conditions. Diagnosis of these diseases both lab tests and clinical tests. The symptoms of these diseases vary from patient to patient and also depends upon the severity on the disease.
However, some of the common symptoms are as following:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty in remembering things
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Decreased motor and nervous power
- Changes is social behavior
- Changes in personality
- Pain in bones and joints:
Pain in joints and bones might indicate diseases related to bones. The common diseases of bones are osteoporosis, gout, arthritis and metabolic bone diseases. Bones become soft in old age due to brittleness and demineralization of bones. There is also some decline in mineral absorption by the bones. This phenomenon is more severe in women who have reached menopause and the body has less amount of female sex hormones which are essential for mineral absorption into the bones. There are various underlying factors for these diseases.
Some common symptoms of these diseases are listed below:
- Swelling around bones and joints
- Decreased energy
- Decline in mobility
- Increased fraction between joints
- Frequent fractures:
Fractures become more frequent in older age as the bones become soft and fragile. Even a mild jerk or sneezing might result in to a fracture. Such patients require extra care and adequate medical attention. They also require different therapies for better bone health. In USA, every 3/10th elder individual suffers from fractures due to bone weakness.
- Changed social Behavior:
Changed social behaviors indicate disturbance in the mental health. These changed behaviors not only effect social life but also effect the personal life on an individual and in most cases lead to depression and severe anxiety. Monitoring and discussing these changes with your geriatric is very important. Some symptoms of these changed social behaviors are:
- Difficulty in performing tasks
- Difficulty in remembering names and faces
- Forgetting words while talking
- Not being able to communicate properly
- Not being able to dress properly
- Digestive problems:
Old age stresses some serious changes on the gastro intestinal health. There is a decline in the flexibility of the digestive track walls. There are also various changes in the hormone production and secretion. This cause many diseases f gastrointestinal track like cancers and ulcers and frequent reflux of food.
Some common symptoms are listed below:
- Loss of appetite
- Burning sensation in chest
- Infections of digestive track
- Abdominal pain
Diabetes is one of the most common disease of mankind which mostly effects adults and older people. Diabetes type 2 is common because there is an increased insulin resistance and decline in pancreatic activity in the old age. Diabetes in old age can be related to various health conditions which include muscles mass loss, depression, stress, dementia, stroke, hypoglycemia and poor blood circulation.
Common symptoms of diabetes type 2 are:
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Increased urination
- Numbness of hands
- Numbness of feet
- Tingling sensation in extremities
- Increased thirst
- Decline in visual and hearing abilities:
Aging poses some drastic effects on the eye and ear health. decline of hearing ability with an increasing age is a natural phenomenon which is known as presbycusis or age related hearing loss. Presbycusis also tend to run in families. Hearing is loss due to changes in the auditory nerve supply of the ear. However, vision loss or vision impairment is related to old age cataract, muscular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
- Increased infections:
Increasing age reduces the immunity of the human body. and when the immunity is low the body becomes more suspectable to various infections. Many diseases like diabetes, cancers, arthritis also contribute to loss of immunity. These infections include :
- Urinary track infections ( UTI )
- Digestive track infections
- Infections of eye
- Skin infections
- Oral infections
- Renal infections
- Heart diseases:
Increasing age imposes some serious risks on cardiac health. There is a natural decline in the flexibility of blood vessels in old age which leads to the stifness of the blood vessels. Common heart risks include:
- Heart attack or myocardial infraction
- Heart failure
- Cardiac arrythmias
It is important that you check and understand any changes in the mental or physical health of your parents and consult a geriatric for medical attention. You can also consult your nearby geriatric online to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the pandemic.